1MDB audit trial postponed as Shafee unwell, ‘sounds like Sean Connery’

KUALA LUMPUR: The 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) audit tampering trial has been vacated for the day as Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s lead counsel Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah is unwell.

The High Court was informed by co-counsel Rahmat Hazlan on Monday (May 30) that Muhammad Shafee is down with a high fever and a sore throat.

“He sounded like (Hollywood actor) Sean Connery,” Rahmat said in court here on Monday.

Justice Mohamed Zaini Mazlan, who looked rather amused with the description, jokingly said the James Bond actor was not a good reference as he had passed.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Ahmad Akram Gharib said the prosecution had no objection to a postponement.

Justice Mohamed Zaini then allowed the postponement.

Today was initially scheduled for a hearing of an application by the prosecution under Section 63 of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act 2009 to call former 1MDB CEO Arul Kanda Kandasamy to testify against Najib.

The section states that in a situation where two or more people are charged with an offence under this same law, the court may require one or more of them to give evidence as witnesses for the prosecution if a written application is made by the public prosecutor.

The 69-year-old former Prime Minister is accused of abusing his position to order amendments to the 1MDB final audit report to avoid any action being taken against him while Arul Kanda, 46, is accused of abetting Najib in making the amendments.

Both men are charged under Section 23(1) of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act 2009, which provides a jail term of up to 20 years and a fine of no less than five times the amount of gratification or RM10,000, whichever is higher, upon conviction.

The hearing for the application under Section 63 has been fixed for Friday (June 3).